Working with outsourcing companies can be concerning. You don’t know what you are getting into. Do they have the same attention to detail as you do? This is particularly difficult because we tend to sue 3PL firms when we are upscaling our operations. You don’t want to lose the personal touch while you fill your orders.
With this in mind, we put together this guide to finding the ideal 3PL partner to match your needs. Follow our advice and you can’t go wrong.
Things to consider when choosing a 3PL Partner for Your Business
Employing a 3PL warehouse to handle order fulfillment frees up time and resources to focus on other areas of operations, so it makes sense to hire one. Let’s highlight some of the ways you can narrow down your search and find the best 3PL partner for your firm.
Think about Experience
Knowledge and expertise are two things that cannot be bought. They have to be hard-earned over time. Think about how much experience a firm has in providing 3PL services. If they have years in the industry behind them, then they really could be considered experts. If they just started a few months before, do you really want to be the company they use as a learning tool?
Examine the Range of Services Offered
If a potential 3PL partner for your firm isn’t able to provide all of the services you need, then they may not be the right fit for you. Typical services would be a speedy shipping service, handling international goods, and giving you feedback throughout your contract on how they have been improving. They should always be looking for ways to grow and offer you more, just like any good outsource provider should.
Think about Scale
So today you could be shipping ten packets a week, but next year you could be shipping 10 packets an hour. Can your new 3PL company achieve higher amounts of packets? Can they scale up and down to meet your business? What about the costs of this? Do they offer modular pricing, so you aren’t overpaying for services you don’t use? If so, it might be better to look elsewhere.
Consider Pricing Structure
If you do have to increase your reliance on the 3PL that you choose, you should be able to scale pricing alongside the size of your services. If a potential company offers a one-size-fits-all approach and you are a fledgling firm, it may be better to look for someone else. Pricing structures should be clearly defined and cover the full range of services offered. Contracts are not unusual but rolling contracts in order fulfillment are less common.
Any outsource service provider that you use needs to be carefully examined for how up-to-date their equipment is. It is suggested that you refresh your business software no more than every 7 years or so. When was the last time they upgraded? Companies reliant on old systems are slower than those on modern technology. Older tech also allows more scope for mistakes and security breaches. This brings us to our next point.
How are your goods going to be stored when they are in the hands of a third-party warehouse and logistics provider? Are they safe? What measures are being taken to make sure you are not left out of pocket by loss, damage, and theft? With roughly 1.4 million commercial burglaries in the US every year, this bears keen consideration before you commit.
Great 3PL Service are Out There
There are fantastic 3PL providers out there waiting for your business. If you follow these considerations, you should end up with a good one.